Check your calendars, friends. Yep, we’re in October, a month in which your only concern should be which of your lightweight jackets to throw across your shoulders as you tread effortlessly out of your house and also, what creative and intelligent but still sultry and appealing to members of whichever sex you prefer thematic outfit you will be wearing this Halloween — hello e-tailer Fashion Nova “Infinite and Beyond” costume, a much more risque version of Buzz Lightyear with a revealing bra and not much else. But under no circumstances should you spend any time thinking, “Will it snow this weekend?” And certainly, certainly do not ask yourself or anyone else, “Have I completed my Christmas shopping yet?” That said, even though Peaks and Pints is still drinking Mexican Vienna lagers and wearing shorts, Santa’s reindeer delivered Christmas beers this week(!). Not just winter warmers, but actual Christmas beers —beers that have Christmas/holiday names. Christmas beers tend to be fuller bodied, often higher in alcohol, with rich malt bases. Oh well. Peaks and Pints isn’t a Scrooge or Grinch — quite the opposite, in fact. Throw a lightweight jacket across your shoulders and make your way to our craft beer bar, bottle shop and restaurant in Tacoma’s Proctor District and enjoy Craft Beer Crosscut 10.13.19: Flight of Christmas In October.
Craft Beer Crosscut 10.13.19: Flight of Christmas In October
10% ABV, 20 IBU
In the town of Ghent sits Brouwerij Huyghe, the oldest, active brewery in that corner of Belgium. The brewery is best known for Delirium Tremens, a highly regarded Belgian strong pale ale, but they produce a wide variety of beers ranging from pilsners, witbiers, fruit ales and lagers. Huyghe’s Delirium line of beers is famous for the pink elephant that adorns every label on every ceramic painted bottle. Its Noel labels are no exception. Skiing, sledding, pulling Santa’s sleigh; the Pink Elephant does it all. Delirium Noel is a big, spicy beer with a lot dried fruit character and touch of alcohol to let you know that you’re drinking a beer with a double-digit ABV.
9.2% ABV, 50 IBU
A Christmas beer with a pirate skull and crossbones donning the bottle? This one is for you, Jack Skellington! George and Jane Hancock founded the ma-and-pa Maritime Pacific Brewing Company in an old transmission shop in 1990 in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. In 1997 they opened the Jolly Roger Taproom named, as they say, “in honor of our most popular holiday brew”: Jolly Roger Christmas Ale. A beer fridge staple, Jolly Roger English Strong Ale combines rich malt character with a blend of fresh Northwest Chinook, Cascade and Amarillo hops.
7.5% ABV, 65 IBU
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” sung by former jockey Jimmy Boyd, takes a humorous approach to a child’s shocking discovery of his mother’s infidelity. Pelican Brewing in Pacific City, Oregon, brews a beer that pairs with Mommy’s merry adulterer — Bad Santa. This mysterious dark elixir is filled with complex malt flavors and aromas with toasted malt and roast character, blending seamlessly to the alluring herbal hop aroma that comes from copious amounts of Fuggle hops. Bad Santa doesn’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice; he just wants Mommy.
11.5% ABV, 70 IBU
Hair of the Dog’s holiday-themed barleywine Doggie Claws is brewed with Simcoe and Amarillo hops along with Organic Pilsner malt, British crystal and dark wild flower honey collected on Mt. Hood. It smells of thick, decadent caramel coupled with notes of raisins, molasses and dark fruits. First sip brings a sweet caramel-raisin infused maltiness that carries hints of dark fruits, cherry and sourdough. This is followed by a nice wave of piney, citric, herbal hop bitterness causing a nice interplay between the sweet and bitter aspects of the craft beer. It’s self-gratification at its best.
5% ABV, 22 IBU
Rogue Ales Santa’s Private Reserve is a Belgian dark ale packed with tangerines and boysenberries. Rogue Brewmaster John Maier must have been listening to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” but hates drummers as this craft beer was brewed with 11 ingredients: Munich, Carahell, Special W, Caramalt and C-75 malts, Magnum and Rogue Farms Independent hops, Dark Belgian Candi Sugar, brown sugar, Imperial Workhorse Yeast and Free Range Coastal Water. The candi sugar enhances the sweet and tart characteristics of the fruit, and the beer takes a little bit from both sides of the list: it will put a little color on your cheeks, but finishes on the sweet side.